The Foreign Minister of Ecuador, José Valencia, said today that there is a “high probability” that the bodies found in southwestern Colombia correspond to those of a couple of Ecuadorians kidnapped a few months ago.
“There is high probability, that they belong to the two Ecuadorians,” Valencia said at a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Quito, which also included the minister of this portfolio, Rosana Alvarado.
The discovery of the corpses in the area of Tumaco, a Colombian town north of the border with Ecuador, was known today after receiving Valencia, in the first hour, a notification from his Colombian colleague María Ángela Holguín, Alvarado revealed.
The Minister of Justice, however, assured that until all the verifications on the identity of the corpses found are carried out, it cannot be confirmed whether or not they belong to the two Ecuadorians.
“We could not confirm that it is the couple formed by Oscar Villacís and Katy Velasco,” he said, noting that the prosecutor who follows the case, Wilson Toainga, has already traveled to the Colombian city of Pasto to support the investigation process on the identity of the bodies.
Therefore, and because the news circulated through social networks, the Ecuadorian authorities decided to contact the relatives of the couple to contribute to the verification, which, in some way, can be “a relief” for their relatives, explained Alvarado
He assured that tomorrow, Wednesday, on a military flight, relatives of Villacís and Velasco, as well as State authorities, will travel to Pasto to contribute to the identification process, a process that did not offer any details or how long it might last.
But he reiterated that prosecutor Toainga traveled to Pasto with some samples that could be used in forensic techniques to confirm identity.
Also the Intelligence Secretary, Jorge Acosta, will be part of the delegation that will contribute, as happened in the past days with the bodies of the three members of the press team killed, to comply with all the protocols established for these cases.
The Ecuadorian authorities reported on April 19 that Katty Vanesa Velasco Pinargote and Oscar Efrén Villacís Gómez had been kidnapped by an illegal armed group, related to drug trafficking, and led by a known subject with the alias of Guacho, a dissident of the FARC
Since then the whereabouts of the couple were unknown but it was presumed that they had suffered the same fate as the three members of the newspaper team of the newspaper El Comercio whose bodies were repatriated last week, also kidnapped by Guacho.
Last Friday, during the mass of the present body prior to the funeral in Quito of the newspaper team of the newspaper El Comercio, Ana Velasco, sister of Katty, complained that the Ecuadorian authorities had not given them any response on the whereabouts of their loved ones.
In their struggle for information, the couple’s relatives were supported by the three members of the press team.
Two weeks ago, traveling to the Colombian city of Cali (southwest) to support the identification of the bodies of Javier Ortega (journalist), Paúl Rivas (photographer) and Efraín Segarra (driver), the three members of the journalist team kidnapped and murdered, relatives of the couple took a message to Colombia asking for support in the location. (I)